Feb 27, 2013 7:00am PST
to the staff at the pentagon since taking office early this morning. hagel was sworn in at a private ceremony after an unusually tough confirmation fight, which ended in a 58-41 vote. hagel overcame a republican-led filibuster by members of his own party who never forgave his criticism of the iraq war. let me bring in republican strategist and former santorum senior strategist and nbc col n columnist and contributing editor for the hill. good morning. he has to confront a staggering $46 billion in cuts to military spending which are set to begin tomorrow. he's got his work cut out for him. >> he really does. part of the reason the president selected chuck hagel was knowing going forward the defense department would have to undergo cuts anyhow. obviously the sequester makes that a lot tougher process because it is, you know, these cuts are much less strategic obviously than what we would have preferred. he also comes in after having a tough few weeks, a little bloodied i think and some of that was intended not so much to go after hagel but to try to go after the president and, thankfully, the
Feb 7, 2013 7:00am PST
to most americans has really grown exponentially. ten years ago the pentagon had 50 drones. today it's 7,500. a third of the air force's fleet unmanned. u.s. military carried out 447 drone attacks in afghanistan in the first 11 months in 2012. 294 total in all of 2011. what's behind this drone explosion, if you will? >> well, i think that drones are sort of irresistible for a policymaker, for a president who is worried about protecting the country but also, you know, a president who in many ways was formed politically by the experiences in iraq and afghanistan, at least as far as his foreign policy views, who doesn't want to see dangerous, costly, bloody military entanglements in far away nations. drones are surgical. they're cheap. you can have a pretty high degree of accuracy. it is true that there have been numerous civilian casualties, but relative to any other technology we have short of sending in, you know, an assassin with a sniper rifle which in many cases just isn't practical, drones are the best way to sort of take the enemy off the battlefield. they don't cost a lot of money.